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A murderer convicted of gunning down an Ontario police officer has been transferred from a Vancouver Island prison that Ontario Premier Mike Harris calls Club Fed.

Police leaders immediately denounced Corrections Canada yesterday for moving Clinton Suzack from the William Head Institution to another medium-security facility in British Columbia.

"It's hocus-pocus," said David Griffin, executive officer of the Canadian Police Association, which represents 30,000 frontline officers. "It's not good enough. Our patience has run out."

A public outcry followed the recent transfer of Mr. Suzack from a maximum-security prison to William Head, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, six years after he was convicted of the first-degree murder of a Sudbury officer.

Politicians, including Mr. Harris, joined police and family in condemning the transfer to William Head.

The B.C. jail, overlooking a scenic Pacific Coast peninsula, offers its 240 inmates fishing and golfing and allows prisoners to cook their own meals in housing units and put on plays for the public.

Mr. Suzack's transfer follows several other high-profile cases involving accusations of lenient treatment of police-killers that have outraged Canadian law-enforcement officials.

"These horrific offenders are being coddled by the system," Mr. Griffin said. "We don't want to see it happen again."

The slain officer's family is also lobbying for Mr. Suzack's return to a maximum-security jail.

"It's outrageous," said Franco Fragomeni, of Belleville, Ont., the officer's brother-in-law. "It really defies logic. Six years into a 25-year offence and he's transferred to medium security. It doesn't add up."

Mr. Suzack and Peter Pennett were convicted of killing Sudbury Regional Police Constable Joseph MacDonald, who had stopped them during a routine traffic check on Oct. 7, 1993. The 29-year-old officer had a wife and two young daughters. He was shot in the head.

Both men were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Noting his criminal record, the judge recommended Mr. Suzack spend his entire term in a maximum-security facility.

His transfer to another B.C. prison -- which one was not revealed -- was announced in the House of Commons yesterday by Solicitor-General Lawrence MacAulay in response to criticism of the case by the Canadian Alliance.

The move comes a week after the Ontario Legislature passed a rare unanimous motion calling on the federal government to send Mr. Suzack back to maximum security.

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